Monday, November 9, 2015

It Isn't Starbucks Who's Failed

I just need to preface this post by saying that I absolutely adore Christmas. I don't hesitate to say that I mark my year by the Christmas season and everything in relation to it. And in light of my faith, the season and the message behind it means a lot to me.

However, this whole Red Cup ordeal makes me angry.

And not for the reasons you might expect.

It all boils down to this: I don't expect Starbucks to be my source of holiday... I don't know, spirit, joy... whatever hoopla you want to fill in the blank? And even more than that, Starbucks has not set out on a mission to spread the gospel, they're out to provide customer service and decent coffee. That's it. If you expect more from them, then I have a new challenge for you.

Are you failing so horribly at your job as a Christian that you expect Starbucks to do it for you by putting, "Merry Christmas" on their cups? Are they supposed to take up the cross and spread the gospel? This is a bigger problem than a change in artwork. Because I really don't think a change in artwork should incur such a fuss as it has from the Christian community.

I want to tell you a story about Starbucks... and its not about the company, but about some individuals who work there. Real living people.

Several years ago, the local Starbucks in my town hired a young lady from a nearby church. A very kind, God-loving, diligent college student. And after working there for a while, the manager mentioned that he would be interested in hiring any of her friends because he liked her as an employee. This triggered a chain of hires, mostly college students from our church.

This story isn't about Starbucks and its image. That manager was simply looking for good employees and found a decent source. We have an opportunity as Christians to share the gospel with our lives, not with cups.

Some of us dream of working for Christian companies and organizations, because apparently, we've deceived ourselves into believing that's the best way to honor God. Where on earth did that idea come from?

We've been commissioned to go out into the world and preach the gospel to the nations. And we can't to that by Christianizing our world. We actually have to encounter the part of the world that doesn't share our values and show them something worth having.

Don't you get it? It's OUR mission. OUR job.

Our job as family members to love and care for the people we live with. Our job as citizens to honor God with our vote and participation. Our job as employees to represent Christ in our workplaces.
A cup with "Merry Christmas" on it can't do that.

So if the message of Christmas isn't going to be shared because Starbucks took the phrase off of its cups, it isn't Starbucks who's failed. It's us as Christians, who've backed out of this incredible calling we've received.

So in everything you do, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.